Invest in your strengths as a leader

Each great leader has different strengths from other great leaders. For example, history points to Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi as great leaders, but everyone would agree that their strengths were completely different.

Too many corporate leaders today, according to the book, “Strengths Based Leadership”, study past successful leaders and try to imitate them. Rather, all leaders should better understand their own strengths and learn how to leverage those even further.

Leadership is NOT about trying to be all things to everyone in all situations. Being an effective leader is investing in your strengths, while acknowledging your weaknesses. Great leaders know how to surround themselves with complementary teams.

At times in my career, I had tried to be a certain type of a leader that was not authentic. I was only fooling myself. My team knew right away that I was trying to be someone that I was not. Of course, my more successful business ventures were when I played to my strengths and built an appropriate team around me that overcame my weaknesses. We complemented one another.

A leader’s first priority should be building a great team. That means hiring people who bring different and varying skills and perspectives. Too often, we hire people who are like ourselves. Getting a diverse team to work together focused on a common vision – now, that’s great leadership and a sure recipe for success.

The book recites research that has found these key findings:

  1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths.
  2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team.
  3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.

Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie